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The Phoenician civilization developed in Phenicia, territory of present-day Lebanon. The Phoenicians were peoples of Semitic origin. Around 3000 BC, they settled on a narrow strip of land about 35 km wide, situated between the mountains of Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea. With 200 km long, it corresponds to most of the coast of present-day Lebanon and a small part of Syria.
Living in a mountainous region with few fertile lands, the Phoenicians devoted themselves to fishing and maritime trade.
The Phoenician cities that most developed in antiquity were Byblos, Tire and Sidon.
The Phoenician, land of sailors and merchants, occupied a narrow area, approximately 40 km wide, between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of Lebanon. Currently this region corresponds to Lebanon and the part of Syria.
Phenicia's mountainous soil was not conducive to agricultural and pastoral development. Living as if squeezed into their territory. The Phoenician people realized the need to go overboard and develop trade in the cities of the Mediterranean.
Among the factors that favored Phenicia's commercial and maritime success, we can highlight that the region:
It was very crossroads of trade routes, the natural outlet for trade caravans coming from Asia toward the Mediterranean;
It was rich in cedars, which provided valuable timber for shipbuilding;
It had good natural ports in its major cities (Ugarit, Byblos, Sidon, and Tire);
It had beaches full of a mollusk, from which purple was extracted, dyeing red color used for dyeing fabrics, much sought after among the elites of various regions of antiquity.
The Phoenician Cities
The Phoenician was, in fact, a set of city-states, independent of each other. Some adopted the Hereditary Monarchy; others were governed by a Council of Elders. The Phoenician cities vied with each other and with other peoples for control of the main maritime trade routes.